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Houston Realtors Laser-Focused on Internet

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RISMEDIA, Oct. 11, 2007-The Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) dedicated its entire 2008 Strategic Leadership Conference to bringing the vast Internet space to its leadership. Not content just to be the best, the 2008 board and staff leadership is committed to being even more aggressive in making sure Houston Realtors and consumers keep up with the exploding technological advances on the Web.

“There is no more important mission than to have the leadership and members of HAR understand the impact the Internet has had and will continue to have on our industry,” said Michael Levitin, 2008 HAR Chairman of the Board.

Bob Hale, HAR President & CEO, shared statistics with the leadership, which demonstrated that HAR.com is the most valued and used real estate portal by consumers in Houston.

Approximately 60% of both buyers and sellers said HAR.com was the most valuable Internet site they used during their home buying or selling process, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Houston Center for Public Policy.

Call-in contributors during the conference included Rich Barton, Chairman and CEO of Zillow; Michael Yang, General Manager of Yahoo! Real Estate; Justin McCarthy, Strategic Partner Development Manager-Real Estate of Google; Pat Lashinsky, President & CEO of ZipRealty; Tim Fagan, President, Classified Ventures Real Estate Division, HomeGain and HomeScape; and Vaughan Smith, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategic Partnerships of Move, Inc.

On-site speakers were Kristi Graning, Senior Vice President, Information Technology and eBusiness of RE/MAX International, and Russ Capper, President of Prudential Real Estate Services. Charlene Li, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, also conducted two intensive sessions on the Internet user; the Internet in real estate and the importance of social networking now evolving in the online space. Trends she identified were map-based search, high-quality aerial photography, greater transparency in the transaction, consumer ratings of Realtors and user-generated content, such as videos similar to those found on YouTube.

“Based on the information we heard during the conference and feedback from our members and clients, HAR has already instituted advanced map searches on HAR.com and will be moving to introduce consumer ratings and more video content in 2008,” said Rob Cook, 2007 HAR Chairman of the Board.

For more information, visit www.HAR.com.

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